Morning leftovers on Burnett, Murphy, Moore and Sizemore

VIERA, Fla. - Some morning leftovers to chew on as the Nationals make the drive down to Jupiter for today's game against the Marlins ...

* He's been under the radar a bit, but Sean Burnett continues to impress this spring and is making a serious case for himself three years after he last pitched out of the Nationals bullpen.

Burnett tossed a scoreless inning yesterday in Kissimmee, his fourth scoreless appearance of the spring. He has faced 12 total batters, retiring 10 of them. And the only two to reach safely did so without benefit of a clean hit (one walk, one hit-by-pitch).

Sean_Burnett_throwing_white-sidebar.jpgThe left-hander, attempting a comeback following the second Tommy John surgery of his career, has looked very much like his old self so far in camp, with fastball velocity currently in the upper 80s (down only a tick from 2012, the last time he pitched regularly in the majors).

Question: Do the Nats have a place for Burnett at this point? Answer: Only if they want to keep three lefties in their bullpen. Felipe Rivero is a lock to make the club and has received rave reviews from new manager Dusty Baker, and Oliver Perez got a two-year deal over the winter.

It would be unconventional to take three left-handers north. But if Burnett really is one of the seven best relievers here, the Nationals might just be compelled to do it.

* Daniel Murphy saw his first action of the spring at first base yesterday. Baker explained that he merely wants to see the veteran infielder there, preparing for the possibility he could be needed at some point, and that Clint Robinson is his primary backup to Ryan Zimmerman. Murphy also will get a game at third base sometime soon for the same reason.

Never known as an elite defensive player at any position, Murphy did make a very nice play yesterday, diving to his left to scoop a sharp grounder hit by the Astros' Carlos Gomez. Trouble is, he then attempted a shovel pass to Gio Gonzalez (covering first) and wound up throwing the ball away.

Zimmerman, by the way, makes his spring debut at first base this afternoon, and not a moment too soon for the Nationals.

* Speaking of guys playing different positions: Tyler Moore made his first-ever game appearance at third base yesterday, getting a few innings at the hot corner in Kissimmee.

The Nationals are exploring all of their options with Moore, who is out of minor league options and thus will be the subject of a big decision before the end of camp. Adding another position to his repertoire (he already has experience at the three other corner positions) can only help. Unfortunately, he didn't see any actual action in the field yesterday.

"He stood like a third baseman," Baker quipped.

* Scott Sizemore continues to impress as a non-roster invitee. The veteran infielder doubled off the wall in left field yesterday and now is 9-for-22 this spring with six extra-base hits and two walks.

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